Brains

Mar 31

Do You Plan, Ruminate, Worry, Poke, Prod, and Fumble? How to Stop Overanalysing Your Life

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com]

I’ve been planning to write this post for approximately seven years.

Every possible paragraph has been carefully researched. Each of my thoughts has been studied intensely by a number of focus groups so that they are perfectly formed.

(In fact, the focus groups were themselves chosen by focus groups, although it took me several months of careful focus-grouping to realise that that was the correct strategy.)

As such, I am confident that this post is the very best it could possibly be, except-

Wait.

Read more…

Mar 18

Sort of Fake It till you Sort of Make It

[post status: a quick & messy throwaway thought]

It’s a two-way street between our feelings and our actions. Sometimes we perform well because we’re confident, but acting confident also helps our performance.

Hence the popular advice: “Fake it till you make it!”

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Feb 17

Jiggling an Imaginary Rope Helps You Re-Evaluate Your Life

[Warning: contains mild physics.]

Imagine a short piece of rope. We’ll call him Ropert.

Let’s imagine that Ropert represents our lives.

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Jan 04

The Past is The Past is The Past

Time by dkalo, on Flickr

Original Photo © Dimitris Kalogeropoylos, dkalo on Flickr.
CC BY-SA 2.0

[Status: Only a quick undeveloped realisation.]

Isn’t it weird that something that happened years ago “feels like yesterday”, while something that happened last week “feels like forever ago”?

Well actually, I’ve just realised it might not be weird at all.

Read more…

Dec 05

Doing Things is Overrated… So Stop (A Bit)

resting by Michael Cory, on Flickr

Original Photo © Michael Cory, khouri on Flickr.
CC BY 2.0

You know that bit in the Simpsons intro where Maggie is steering on a pretend wheel to mimic the driving that Marge is doing?

Maggie (copyright Fox, or whoever owns the Simpsons these days)

Maggie Simpson (copyright Fox, or whoever owns the Simpsons these days)

Our brains would genuinely be happier if we could attach a fake steering wheel to “life” and pretend we were controlling everything that happens to us.

Read more…

Sep 07

Things I Was Going To Do But Didn’t

I’ve been travelling.

I had great plans to work while I travelled. I’ve done some, but mostly I’ve failed to be the super-productive me I envisioned. Staying on top of food, sleep, exercise, seeing people, seeing places, adventures AND work was always going to be hard.

I haven’t written several posts for this blog (albeit some are sorta drafted). I haven’t finished the draft of a book (although I’ve made progress). I haven’t sent my guaranteed-hilarious* mailing list email.

* not actually guaranteed

And you know what? The world isn’t ending.

I will have to catch up. But the level of guilty anxiety I’ve had over this perceived failure is – as usual – way out of proportion.

Especially when I step back and look at reality: I’ve done a LOT in a few weeks, especially considered I’ve had to handle some sad circumstances at home along with a few setbacks over here. If anything, I ought to be impressed with how I’ve handled everything, instead of beating myself up for failing to magic an extra five hours into every day to write a whole book as well.

Possibly there’s a wider lesson here, but as usual it’s the same lesson: changing my perspective by looking again at reality is very, very helpful.

Jul 22

One Weird Trick For Getting Over Perfectionism

Today I’m too tired to write a proper post, so my cunning plan is “just not to”.

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May 23

Compulsively and Without Joy

The Big Lebowski is one of my favourite movies.

I could go on – at length – about why. Although I’m not going to, so this GIF will have to suffice:

via GIPHY

One quote from the film that’s always stuck with me is “compulsively and without joy“.

I’m not sure why, perhaps there’s just something about the wording. For whatever reason, the phrase wiggled its way into my brain and has lived there ever since.

And I’m pretty pleased about that, because it turns out this particular quote is useful.

Read more…

May 11

Oh no, I’m Motivated By Fear!

fear based motivation 5

Now that I’m (mostly) successfully managing my anxiety, everything should be great forever… right?!

Well, no.

Obviously life isn’t magically perfect. (Though of course “less anxiety” is a huge improvement!)

This is fine. I never expected perfection.

But something else I didn’t expect was that managing anxiety better could itself cause problems.

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Mar 28

The Power of Short Term Thinking

Stonehenge (detail) by Francesco Volpi, on Flickr

How do you eat a Stonehenge? One bite at a time.

Original Photo © Francesco Volpi, Francesco Volpi on Flickr.
CC BY-ND 2.0

I’m fond of planning. I’m a Plan Fan, a man who can plan. I plan, er…

Inner critic: Hello reader. If you don’t respect anyone who can’t think of more than three rhymes for “plan”, you might like to turn away now.

Anyway. I like looking ahead, you might say. But if I get too caught up in long-term thinking, I end up struggling.

Read more…

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